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Walking Group 2015
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2015 Walking Away Walking Group Archive
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Walks are not long or strenuous; 5 or 6 miles on average, each with a different leader.

Come along to see the countryside in all its moods, sometimes bathed in sunshine, often with a shower or two, even perhaps with a carpet of snow!
Our walkers might pass stone-age remains, badger setts and tracks, and fascinating old farmhouses and cottages.
Eccles PikeThey will certainly enjoy sweeping views over the Cheshire plain, Peak District panoramas of hills and dales, and gentler scenery by canals and parkland in Lyme, Alderley and Ladybrook.

You are guaranteed a friendly welcome when you join us.
Do come!

Group Leader: Walter Mason


Walk Reports

Tuesday January 13th

8 joined Jeff Mortimer for the first walk in 2015, including 4 ladies, perhaps tempted by a promised flat walk. It was a pleasant morning, and the Peak Forest canal was an oasis of calm, unaffected by countrywide yellow and amber snow alerts. At Bury-Me- Wick a woodpecker heralded our passage, and sheep grazed precariously on brambles by the waterline. The route was flat as promised, but quite sticky in places - a legacy of recent rains. This had warned Jeff away from the original plan via Cherry Tree and the steep fields down to the Watermeetings farms - and proved a wise decision, since the towpath and aqueduct were surrounded by barriers and workmen, on major renovation work, and that way would have been impossible.

Our pace was relatively leisurely as we returned through Kirk Wood down to Chadkirk, to be surprised by early daffodils in the walled garden, and we had to dodge tree-fellers on a return via the canal to the Spreadeagle. Therked Jeff for a very pleasant start to the year.

WEDNESDAY  January 28th

12 walkers, all well wrapped up against forecast heavy wintry showers (which never materialised), joined Merlyn and Joyce at the Poachers Inn, Sowcar, Bollington. The flat and easy 4 mile walk did undulate somewhat and have several muddy sections, none of them slippy, as we followed Oakenbank Lane to Rainow, and returned through Ingersley Dale, by the river Dean.

As we passed Savio House, the gloomy sky dimmed the extensive views of the surrounding hills, and the gusty wind kept us quiet. By Rainow, having negotiated the lane – the former main route from Bollington to Rainow – the winds had eased and the skies were partially blue, as we “coffee stopped” at a public garden within sight of the church.

Returning in the dale, the shades of green belied the former industrial heritage of drift coalmines and a clutch of water-driven mills producing a variety of goods. Would that it were to remain green, but developers covet such sites, and house-flats or Archimedes screws may soon return bricks and mortar into the Dale.

Merlyn presented plenty of information on past heritage as we progressed round the route, and made our walk more interesting. Then, interesting guest beers and reasonably priced meals at the Poachers completed our enjoyment, so many thanks to Merlyn and Joyce.

PS. One day later the snows came with a vengeance, and would have put paid to our walk – we were lucky!) 



WEDNESDAY February 25th 

Twenty one walkers took the train to Piccadilly Station, to join Alison and Brian’s walk to Salford Quays and the Lowry. The route via the Rochdale, Bridgewater and Manchester Ship Canals wound unobtrusibly through the heart of the cities.  First the Rochdale canal gave ever-changing glimpses of past trades and industries, and  led to a complex junction under the mighty pillars and girders, formerly supporting the main rail routes into Central Station, and now used by Metro lines on its way past G-Mex.

A slightly less interesting stretch of Bridgwater canal was followed by a long straight length of ship canal, enlivened by extensive views, a short stretch of colourful graffiti, and an increasing number of modern buildings as we approached Salford City, and had to navigate the confusing array of quays and waterside.

The weather was kind, the walking was flat and mud-free, our photographers found a myriad photo-opportunities, and  Alison was a mine of information about the canals and neighbouring buildings. So we went our various ways at the Lowry well satisfied with Alison and Brian’s walk.


WEDNESDAY March 25th  

23 came to Castleton for Sam and Irene’s walk. It was warm and bright as we walked past Mill Bridge on the lane heading for Hollins Cross. The route narrowed in places, but gave wide views of the so-called Great Ridge. We had a welcome breather before starting up the narrow climb on the former “coffin” route – but all made it to the ridge! A breather and coffee stop, and time to admire the scenery – rather misty, with fitful sun peeping through the thin cloud, before we continued on the ridge, with a deceptive downhill stretch, just before a short steepish climb up Back Tor with its impressive shale cliff face.

Then it was onwards to Lose Hill 1563 ft, the last hill on the Great Ridge, and a lunch stop with panoramic views, although menacing dark clouds were around. Old folklore tells of a famous battle between here and Win Hill. But more recent history has Lose Hill also called Ward’s Piece, as it was purchased by Sheffield Ramblers, in memory of their founder George Herbert  Bridges Ward, and later given to the National Trust as its first piece of land in the Peak District. A passing lady hiker aware of the story led us to the memorial plaque, tucked away in a quiet corner.The clouds turned to warm sunshine as we descended past Crimea Farm and Lose Hill Youth Hostel, and back to the car park. Many thanks to Irene and Sam for interrupting their caravan holiday and giving us a super walk.                                            


TUESDAY April 14th

John and Barbara McCartney led 13 walkers on a leisurely walk between Furness Vale and Buxworth. It was scenic, quiet countryside, formerly a hive of railway and industrial activity, now with only tantalising reminders of vast railway sidings, mines, and past hectic canal barge activity. John was a mine(!) of information on how it used to look.

The early cool breeze gradually changed to hot sunshine as we relaxed over a drink and sandwiches at the Navigation. Then, following the attractive canal and river scenery to Peathill, we threaded our way past modern industrial scale activity, as large scale machines prepared to lay huge waste pipes along the Goyt river valley. The yellow jacketed workmen were friendly and chatty as we passed, and we were soon back to Gowhole and our cars, thanking John and Barbara for their very pleasant walk.




Wednesday April 29th

15 joined Mike Hawkin on his “maiden”walk for us. We left Chadkirk car park in slightly chill sunshine, and entered Mill Lane past the Hydro and a length of tall fencing, where a former leat is being cleared and filled. (This all used to be a pleasant wooded area, alas!) The lane wound round to Valley Cottage and Waterside Farm, where narrow woods with bluebells hugged the river Goyt. After a short rise between open fields, we turned down a newish footpath and across a narrow footbridge (built for the Etherow-Goyt Valley Way and Midshires Way), which took us across into Woodlands Park. After a short climb, the track continued downstream, undulating by the wide river, with lovely beech woods, ransoms (wild garlic), and bluebells to all sides. Then it was past an isolated cricket ground and signs of a former large building before the route approached and climbed into Woodbank Park, with its carved commemoration pole for animals in war.

Vernon Park was ahead for a welcome coffee stop, and loos! We descended a long flight of steps, but made a surprise right turn to a narrow riverside path, in places rather tricky, which opened out to an easy path with close views of Pear Mill, an Electricity Sub-Station, and the rear of Bredbury Hall. A heron allowed us a fleeting close look before it was away, and we were away, and on to a small sandy inlet and
a wide weir, to rejoin and return on our outward route.

The whole 6 mile walk was a joy in the early spring woods and the cool sunshine, and we thanked Mike for showing us a different side of Stockport.


TUESDAY May 12th

Mike Moran led a group of 6 on a walk from the NT Hare Hill Gardens, near Prestbury. After a short delay allowing a fierce shower to pass by, we set off in warm sunshine. Unusually we left by the main drive, as the Alderley Edge concession path had a temporary closure, to prevent dogs worrying calving cattle. Initially our route followed quiet lanes, by Adders Moss, then headed round to Edge House Farm, where suddenly a narrow field path brought us into familiar surroundings on Alderley Edge. A brief amble, and loos and picnic tables, allowed us to coffee stop in style and comfort.

Replenished, we trod easy paths beneath gorgeous beech trees and ancient-looking mixed woodland – a convincing deception, as the area of old copper mines and mossy heathland was treeless till only a century or two ago. We threaded our way confidently towards Dickens Wood and by Clock House, before sets of steps took us up and over by Hill Top Farm into Daniel Wood. The closure of the concession through Alders Wood forced a longish detour via Mount Farm and the Prestbury Road, and lengthened our walk to about 5 miles. But, the weather had stayed fine,  the spring woodlands were at their best, and packed lunches were enjoyed back at Hare Hill, so it was an impressive maiden walk led by Mike. Thanks.


WEDNESDAY May 27th   

A flat and easy 5 mile walk in the surrounds of Sale Water Park was the choice of Steve Reynolds, and 13 joined him to discover a very pleasant area of woodland paths, raised riverside dikes, and fascinating lakes and wetland. There was more too, as we ventured around attractive Chorlton Green, with interesting shops worth a longer look on another day – but there was walking to be done!

Coffee stop over, we strode on along Hawthorn Lane past Stretford Cemetery, and towards Cut Hole Bridge; where comfortable benches on the Bridgewater Canal were ideal for our packed lunches – a floating mass of Water Hawthorn catching our eyes. After, we skirted Broad Ees Dole Nature Reserve, straining our eyes at the bird hide – was that a Ring Necked Duck in the distance? Yellow flag iris and last year’s “bulrush” stems were easier to identify. Further on, intrepid youths dared each other to venture into the murky and risky waters of the River Mersey. But we couldn’t wait to see the result, as we returned over Jackson’s Bridge, and en masse rushed for cups of tea at the Mersey Valley Visitor Centre. It had been a lovely walk, and we thanked Steve and Ann for it.



Walter celebrated his second day as an octogenarian, by leading 9 walkers on mostly familiar ground near Hayfield. Starting from Bowdon Bridge car park, we walked up Kinder Road, along the stream, climbed the steep cobbled pathway by the dam, and followed the path above the reservoir to a coffee stop partly up William Clough.

A sharp left hand turn took us on the panoramic route to the shooting cabin, and there continued towards Carr Meadow. At the high point, we turned down a wide track (using “right to roam”)  passing a grouse butt and descending gently through the heather and wimberry (bilberry) to an early lunch stop at a pleasant sun trap. A curlew flew around, but only one grouse was heard.

We crossed a stream on stepping stones and ambled through the Park Hall Woods, now a NT nature reserve, but formerly famous for its outdoor swimming pool. Across the A624 we joined a footpath once a stiled field path by badger setts, now a graded path with easy gates and no signs of badgers. A short distance along a lane, a
minor road, and another graded path which followed the River Sett (the calico trail) to a general shop - selling ice creams! Merlyn took over to take us past the cricket ground to new childrens play area and soon we were back at Bowdon Bridge. It had been a lovely day for walking, with pleasant sun and just a slight breeze, so everyone seemed to enjoy the 6 miles or so walk.



David Burke led 12 keen walkers on a circular route around Ford, near Chapel-en-le-Frith. The 6 – 7 mile walk had more ups and downs than most, perhaps totalling 1500 feet of ascent. There was dampness on the ground, and dark clouds which never precipitated, and in the later stages welcome glimpses of sunshine.
The area has a long history of 750 years or so, and we passed Ford, Slack and Bowden Halls, and then an ancient Quaker burial ground by the Chestnut Centre. Later we saw Gowburn Tunnel end (or beginning!) on the Sheffield rail line, and crossed various tributaries of Black Brook, before ascending to the ancient Roych Clough bridleway.


We knew we had been in a walk, but we had kept dry and seen lots, and felt fitter for it  as we thanked David for his fascinating walk.



TUESDAY August 11th

Jeff Mortimer led eight on a fascinating walk round Daisy Nook Country Park and up to Hartshead Pike. It explored an area not covered in previous walks, and was an eye-opener in the way that former heavily industrialised neighbourhoods could become naturalised and attractive again, in this case with sympathetic help from Tameside. The Daisy Nook valley was particularly wooded and attractive, with beech woods and landscaped former canal paths.

The walk itself was longish, perhaps 8 or 8½ miles, and some of the paths were under-used or obstructed, but much of the going was easy on former tow paths and rail routes. We nearly found ourselves as extras on a future Channel 4 television programme (Wonders of Britain??), as a super drone circled the 926 foot Pike and photographed it (and us?). We found a fascinating hedge side mosaic made by proud local residents, and we wondered at the scope and might of the former local industries. So there was plenty to thank Jeff for, even if the walk was longer than most.



WEDNESDAY August 26th

Like Daisy Nook, Carrbrook (near Stalybridge) and also in Tameside, was unrecognisable from its former life as a gloomy but thriving mill village. The 15 of us, led by Merlyn, circumnavigated nearby Harridge Hill, gloriously covered in purple heather and giving varied views over the Tame Valley, Manchester, the Cheshire and Lancashire plains, and the nearby Brushes and Swineshaw reservoirs.

Throughout the 5 mile walk Merlyn gave us plenty of well-researched facts and stories. We followed a reputed Roman Road, and we saw searchlight emplacements used in WW2, sites of firing ranges, and the location of former North Britain Farm, once the mecca for Sunday afternoon walks from Stalybridge, and renowned for their teas and cakes.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable walk on a mostly bright but breezy day, even though colour-blind yours truly couldn’t appreciate the heather colour quite as much as the others!



WEDNESDAY September 30th

Sam and Irene Chappell took 15 to Rushton Spencer, for a 6 mile walk over to Dane Bridge and back. A light drizzle wet us at first, and left sections of the paths rather heavy, but the rain stopped as we skirted the River Dane, passed a stand of sheep skulls, and some tempting blackberries, and made a coffee stop. A sturdy metal footbridge gave a splendid view of a weir, as we progressed to the Dane Bridge troutery, and admired the fat trout for sale.

Then a steepish ascent towards Wincle Grange farm, with a lunch stop under magnificent beech trees giving a welcome rest. The route now followed pastureland on little-used field paths, past the site of Dumkins, before joining the well-used Gritstone trail down to Barleighford Bridge. There Sam and Irene fed us with sweets to help us up the climb, on a track which led directly to the village of Rushton Spencer. A short stretch of feeder canal for Rudyard Lake, and we arrived back close to the Knot Inn, which was a magnet for half our number. It had been an enjoyable walk, in spite of a humid mist blocking distance views, so Sam and Irene were thanked by all for their efforts.



TUESDAY October 13th

Merlyn and Joyce took a small group of five on a 5½ mile walk ascending Bosley Cloud, and taking in some good paths, country lanes and the Macclesfield canal.

We met at the Timbersbrook picnic area car park, where Merlyn gave us a very interesting history of the mill that was previously on the site from the 1800s until it was demolished in 1966. We walked along a lane and found the footpath that took us to the summit of Bosley Cloud, observing some soaring buzzards on the way. At the top we paused for refreshments, and took in the splendid views. Descending across lanes and fields, past a fine crop of sweet corn, we arrived at the Macclesfield canal where we stopped for our packed lunch. We then had an easy walk along the canal towing path, observing an unusual painted cow at a farm, another lane with some very poisonous looking fungi, then across some fields where we saw lots of farm animals. A lane took us back to the car park after a very pleasant walk.



Wednesday October 28th

On a lovely bright morning, Richard and Susan Clark reprised their May Tuesday walk from the Davenport Arms, Woodford. This time a group of 16, enjoyed a tour of the flat pasture land surrounding the infant rivers Dean and Bollin, with a smattering of black and white halls, and a few wooded sections; and especially we enjoyed the end of the walk on the delightful footpath skirting Woodford aerodrome, and the perimeter of the Avro golf course.

It wasn’t all joy, as several nights’ heavy showers falling on poorly drained flood plains necessitated a few frantic scrambles, where pools and soggy grassland had blocked our way. However, we all appreciated the chosen route and the lack of hills – and the good food in the Davenport Arms (Thieves’ Neck) afterwards.

Richard and Susan Clark

WEDNESDAY November 25th

14 joined Walter for his five mile walk from Higher Poynton into Lyme Park. After a gentle start along the canal, there was a climb up a newly resurfaced fieldpath, already softening with recent rains. Then we contoured round to West Gate and started up the main track, nowadays with many fewer rhododendrons. A steepish zig-zag took us to the Paddock Cottage, and a coffee stop.

Afterwards we followed the edge path beyond Cluse Heys, already with native trees maturing below, then over the ladder stile and a loop round the Knightslow, with glimpses down the Lime Avenue towards the Hall. Now it was relatively easy downhill and onwards, past wall-rebuilders and Four Winds back to Higher Poynton, where a few of us dined well at the Boars Head. The air had been damp but the rain held off, and the presence of a very quiet and well-behaved dog (courtesy of Kate) had given added interest to our group!



WEDNESDAY December 16th

Sam and Irene had a bumper turnout for their pre-Christmas walk and meal - 27 walkers and 32 diners - almost a record! From Pole Bank near Woodley, the 3½ mile route went along Poleacre Lane, past the roof-protected but semi-derelict Unity Mills, to an easy canal stroll westwards. Then a path wound through woodland, gradually descending to the River Tame, not without occasional hazards from badger holes, fallen trees, and a slippery slope (made safer by Sam’s “abseiling” rope!).

Soon we crossed the Tame by Arden Bridge and headed along and up to Ivy Cottages, a picturesque hamlet on Meadow Lane, Haughton Dale, whose cottages were formerly workers’ houses for a large wire mill. After viewing interesting Christmas decorations, and enjoying a coffee break, we next followed part of the Trans Pennine Trail continuing by the river, observing that recent rains had overtopped the banks in places.

We crossed back over the river by Gibraltar Bridge, followed the wooded path back to the canal, with a short walk back to a footbridge, whence we retraced our steps back to our very pleasant eating place The Joshua Bradley. This was formerly Bamford Hall, then Ferndale as the staff house of ICI Hyde, and is now remodelled and renamed after an outstanding past local politician.

The atmosphere was festive, and the meals very pleasant, and Sam and Irene got many plaudits for their choice of walk and eating venue.


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